Many people in the Kansas City area and throughout the nation see retail sales as a significant barometer of how our economy is doing. Judging by the latest numbers in retail, it seems the economy is pretty robust. CNBC.com report that sales rose in June and that “May’s rise in retail sales was the largest since September 2017.” They also report that “consumer spending is being driven by a tightening labor market, which is steadily pushing up wages” and that “consumption is also being supported by tax cuts and savings.”
Retail stores are seeing increased spending over where they were a year ago. According to Louise Hallett for Retailleader.com in her article, ‘Here’s where retail sales are growing’, sales in health and personal care were especially strong over last year with an increase of 7.8%. Other areas that saw a boost include clothing and clothing accessory stores, furniture and home furnishings stores, grocery and beverage stores, general merchandise stores, building materials and garden supply stores, and electronics and appliance stores, while sporting goods stores were down.
According to Esther Fung in her article ‘Surprise: Outlet Malls are Hot’ in The Wall Street Journal online, outlet centers keep thriving even while malls continue to suffer from online shopping competition. People enjoy getting a better deal at outlets, just like they do online. Having all the outlet stores in one place appeals to the time-crunched shopper, as well. Paradigm-changing developments such as Bluhawk are taking the outlet shopping experience to the next level by incorporating complementary uses like the sports park, market, dining, hotels, residential and even an interactive science/space museum. Bluhawk is a destination unto itself. According to Malls can survive if they’re converted into mixed-use centers’, developments like Bluhawk will appeal to the modern shopper who is looking for more of an experience.
According to Katy Askew for FoodNavigator.com, the factors influencing modern grocery shopping include the hyper-local trend, sustainability and the desire for a more immersive physical store experience. Today’s shoppers mistrust big label brands. They think “the more local the better.” They want to know where their food came from and want to have a role in sustainability, as well. Which is why stores like Cosentino’s Market continue to do well. They have more of a mom and pop feel and sell local produce, as well as a variety of independent brands.
So, while online shopping continues to grow, so does brick and mortar retail. Just not in the traditional way. But a growing economy is a growing economy, any way you slice it.